- The Magazine
Braunwyn Windham-Burke, one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” has come out as a lesbian.
In an interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Ramos, Windham-Burke, 43, revealed her identity publicly for the first time.
“I’m finally comfortable enough to say: I like women. I’m gay. I’m a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m a lesbian. And it has taken me 42 years to say that, but I’m so proud of where I am right now and I’m so happy where I am,” Windham-Burke said. “To be able to be comfortable in my own skin after so long is just so nice.”
The reality show star credits her recent sobriety with allowing her to begin accepting her sexual orientation.
“I know that when you get sober and you start doing the work that goes into that, you start realizing a lot of the reasons you drank had to do with who you were on the inside,” she said. “This sort of became something that I didn’t want to hide anymore and I didn’t want to keep a secret anymore. I wanna be able to go out to dinner with whoever I want without judgment. You know, as long as my husband was okay and the person I was dating was okay and knows everything. I didn’t wanna have to hide this anymore.”
Windham-Burke noted that some people will be skeptical of her newly acknowledged identity. But she said she had suppressed her feelings for women for a very long time.
“I got married very young and I never thought about it,” she told Ramos. “So to be 42…I’m just now starting to feel like I’m becoming the woman I was supposed to be.”
The mother of seven said she and husband Sean Burke plan on staying married — despite living apart — and that she still loves him, but is simply not attracted to men. She also is currently seeing a new girlfriend.
“We’re raising the kids together. He’s my best friend,” she said of her spouse, who she called her “biggest cheerleader.”
“He knows the girl I’m dating; her name is Kris…I mean, we go to parties together!” Windham-Burke said. “She came over the other night, hung out with the family, had dinner with us. I mean, it’s only as weird as you make it.”
Windham-Burke also addressed a scene from last year’s season of “RHOC” that some viewers found controversial, in which she made out with fellow cast member Tamra Judge.
“When we were getting ready for the reunion, I was talking to a producer that I trust a lot, his name was James, and he said, ‘How do you feel about this? Was it a drunken mistake or is this a part of who you are?'” she said. “And I said, ‘This is who I am.'”
Windham-Burke said she hopes sharing her coming out story will help others with their own journey.
“Hopefully, when this comes out, there’s gonna be other people that say, ‘Oh hey, I can relate to this!’ or ‘Hey, thank you!’ and that will make it better,” she said.
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